SpiralFrog is an online music service that allows users to download music for free. The service is advertising supported so you basically have 2-3 banner and button ads on each page.
SpiralFrog requires you to register before you can download or stream music. Registration is quick and requires email authentication before you can start using your account.
Once you are registered, you can search for your favorite artists/bands or songs and if SpiralFrog has licensed that content, you are able to stream the music from the page or you can download it to your PC. The downloaded files are not MP3s but are Windows Media files and SpiralFog does not offer any type of purchase option.
Also, in order to continue using the service, SpiralFrog asks each registered user to answer questions every 120 days to reactivate your account. If you don’t answer these questions, your account will be deactivated and you can longer download music. These questions are marketing driven questions that help them serve more targeted ads to consumers. It’s annoying but I can see the value in having that information.
You can listen to 30-second clips of all available music but before you can download music, you have to download the SpiralFrog Download Manager. The download manager creates folders for song download on your PC for easy searching and also allows you to manage the content you have already downloaded. The download manager appears in your system tray (bottom right-hand area for most) and notifies you when you have a song downloading and when it’s complete. In order to download anything from music to videos from SpiralFrog, you must have the download manager running in the background. It’s not intrusive and sits in the system tray so you don’t even notice that it’s there. I have not noticed any speed reduction on my PC from running it in the background so it’s seems OK.
SpiralFrog also offers videos for download. These videos range from standard music videos from your favorite artists to instructional videos (how to do the Soulja Boy Superman Dance). The videos come in Low or Hi Res, which based on you internet connection, can really make a difference in terms of the choppiness and quality of the viewing experience.
SpiralFrog also offers other content areas such as concert/tour search and an industry news section. Nothing mind blowing but a little more to do if you like to keep up with what’s going on in the music industry.
All in all, SpiralFrog has a solid service. The biggest drawback is the availability of content. Because the service is still trying to acquire licenses from all major labels and from indie labels, there is not a huge selection of content available for download or stream. I did a search on some of my favorite artists and found nothing, which was frustrating. Also, the site offers little on the recommendation and community side of things making searching for content laborious if you don’t really know what you are looking for and what some suggestions.
However, for the songs that I did find on the site, the download experience was great and I had no problems with the download manager or playback of any tracks. I did however find their pop-up music player annoying as it does not have typical playback controls. If you click to play a song from the SpiralFog site, a little music player pops up and plays the music. You can’t rewind or fast forward the track which was a little odd.
In conclusion, SpiralFrog is a solid service for obtaining free music. As more songs are made available, I definitely see these guys gaining more traction in the music industry. Watch out iTunes.
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